<gu-island name="KeyEventsCarousel" priority="feature" deferuntil="visible" props="{"keyEvents":[{"id":"660a00588f082a6ebed947ef","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

People in western Sydney are being advised ​to look out for measles symptoms, after NSW Health were notified of a woman with the illness in the area.

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Dr Conrad Moreira, the acting director of the public health unit at the Western Sydney Local Health District, said there was no ongoing risk to the public but that it was important those who attended the locations below look out for symptoms:

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    \n

  • Baby Bunting, Blacktown Mega Centre, on 24 March between 3pm and 4pm

  • \n

  • Kmart Blacktown on 24 March between 4pm and 5pm

  • \n

  • Winston Hills mall on 28 March between 12pm and 2.30pm

  • \n

  • Westmead hospital emergency department on 29 March 2024 between 2pm and 10.30pm.

  • \n

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“Symptoms include fever, sore eyes, runny nose and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body,” Moreira said.

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And welcome to a new week on the blog.

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An Australian was among three UN observers and one translator injured in an explosion near Lebanon’s border with Israel. UN interim force in Lebanon spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told AFP that two observers were from Australia and Chile, adding that all four wounded were in stable condition. Australia’s defence department said the Australian’s injuries were not life-threatening.

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Queensland police are preparing a report for the coroner after two men died in Surfers Paradise last night. The men, aged in their 60s and 30s, drowned after jumping into a hotel pool to save a child, who was successfully pulled from the water, according to an ABC report. Emergency services were called to Orchid Avenue about 7pm. The men were declared dead at the scene. Both deaths are being treated as non-suspicious.

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And in positive news, a pilot scheme to replace cardboard produce boxes with reusable plastic crates has been launched in Victoria, with the aim to cut “invisible” cardboard waste. The Victoria Unboxed project, led by food charity Sustain with Sustainable Victoria, has supplied 1,000 reusable plastic crates to transport produce from farms to venues, wholesalers and homes across Melbourne.

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If you see anything you don’t want us to miss, shoot it my way on X @At_Raf_

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Let’s get this blog rolling.

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Key events

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Original Yellow Wiggle backs fresh defibrillator push

The original Yellow Wiggle Greg Page and the Heart Foundation are behind a fresh push for more lifesaving devices in rural areas.

Page’s organisation, Heart of the Nation, has partnered with the foundation to advocate for greater access to automated external defibrillators (AED) and more education on how to give CPR.

They want government to roll out more of the devices in country areas.

The performer founded Heart of the Nation after suffering a cardiac arrest while the Wiggles were on stage for a bushfire fundraising concert in 2020.

Page credited his survival to the fact an off-duty nurse had access to a defibrillator at the concert.

The original yellow Wiggle, Greg Page. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

Some 24,000 Australians die each year from the condition and only one in 20 people who have cardiac arrest outside of hospital survive.

However, Page is hopeful survival rates can improve.

Those crucial minutes before an ambulance arrives are when CPR and an AED need to be used to dramatically increase a person’s chance of survival.

Australian Associated Press

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Updated at 20.54 EDT

Measles alert for western Sydney

People in western Sydney are being advised ​to look out for measles symptoms, after NSW Health were notified of a woman with the illness in the area.

Dr Conrad Moreira, the acting director of the public health unit at the Western Sydney Local Health District, said there was no ongoing risk to the public but that it was important those who attended the locations below look out for symptoms:

  • Baby Bunting, Blacktown Mega Centre, on 24 March between 3pm and 4pm

  • Kmart Blacktown on 24 March between 4pm and 5pm

  • Winston Hills mall on 28 March between 12pm and 2.30pm

  • Westmead hospital emergency department on 29 March 2024 between 2pm and 10.30pm.

“Symptoms include fever, sore eyes, runny nose and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body,” Moreira said.

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Updated at 20.37 EDT

Support for Labor drops in WA as Coalition gains ground among the young

Voters in Western Australia are shifting away from Labor towards the Coalition, as the opposition gains ground among young people.

A Newspoll published in the the Australian newspaper on Monday shows a rise in support for the Coalition in key areas but Labor still leading 52-48 on a two-party-preferred basis nationally.

This remains unchanged from the last quarter of 2023.

The Coalition increased its support by five points to a primary vote of 27% among young people in the voting group, aged between 18 to 34, as Labor fell five points to 33%.

According to the analysis, the Coalition’s primary vote is now higher than the Greens.

Young men are equally supportive of Labor and the Coalition, with a three-point swing on two-party-preferred terms against the government.

The parties are 50-50 split among the demographic, while there was a six point fall to 31% in Labor’s primary vote.

But for women, Labor was still ahead 53-47 on a two-party-preferred basis.

Among voters aged between 35 and 49 years of age, Labor has further cemented its position by pulling ahead, as the government has focused on cost of living relief and tax cuts for “middle Australia”.

The new analysis shows Labor trailing the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis in WA, while the parties were drawing with each other in NSW.

Australian Associated Press

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Updated at 20.26 EDT

Josh Butler

Josh Butler

Matt Thistlethwaite defends emergency deportation powers

Assistant minister Matt Thistlethwaite has claimed the government needs the emergency deportation powers it failed to ram through the Senate last week, because some visitors to Australia have been “milking the system”.

In a Sky News interview this morning, Thistlethwaite – the assistant minister for defence – alleged “this has been an issue for some time”.

“You’ve got people who come to Australia on visas and we’re not talking about refugees here, we’re talking about people who may come on a tourist visa or some other visa and then they overstay, and they breach their visa conditions. And under the former government, they were milking the system,” he claimed.

“They couldn’t be deported and they’d end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year. And this government has said, well, enough is enough. We’re going to fix that loophole in the system and make sure that the migration minister has the power and the discretion to force those people to comply with their visa conditions and leave the country.”

Matt Thistlethwaite claimed some visitors to Australia had been ‘milking the system’. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/AAP

These were the “urgent” powers the government tried to rush through the parliament on the same day they were introduced. The Coalition initially supported the push but referred it off to a Senate committee after the government declined to detail exactly what the time sensitivity was for the unorthodox and rushed approach.

Liberal senator Hollie Hughes, appearing on the panel with Thistlethwaite, strongly criticised the government’s approach.

“Wow, having accountability, what a crazy concept. The Senate doing its job. What a crazy concept,” she said.

“This is how outrageous this government is, that they wanted to ram through these changes within 36 hours. Massive changes to our immigration laws within 36 hours. No one can really say what the urgency is. Clare O’Neil did let slip that perhaps it’s got something to do with an upcoming court case where, again, the government has failed in its own defence.

“But every piece of legislation, every piece of legislation goes to a Senate legislation committee, and you tried to circumvent that last week. Why?”

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Updated at 20.24 EDT

Matthews’ strong Flanders form bodes well for Olympics

An Olympic medal might be rich consolation for Michael Matthews missing out on a precious podium finish at the Tour of Flanders.

The Australian’s storming ride on Sunday night at De Ronde, one of road cycling’s five monuments, ended in devastation.

The Jayco AlUla star finished third – only the fifth time an Australian has featured among the top three at the storied race.

Matthews was subsequently relegated to 11th over infractions during his sprint to the finish. But his form over the past few weeks points to the 33-year-old being a serious contender in the 3 August Olympic road race.

Michael Matthews of Australia and Team Jayco AlUla on Sunday. Photograph: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images

The Olympic event will suit the “puncheurs” – riders who excel on rolling terrain – with Flanders cited as a similar course profile to that of Paris.

Matthews has never ridden at the Olympics and was gutted at missing out on the Tokyo team three years ago. He finished third at the 2022 world championships in Wollongon , but injury marred his season last year, with a stage win at the Giro d’Italia his one highlight.

In January, Cadel Evans pointed to Matthews and time trial star Grace Brown as the main Australian riders for the Olympic road events. The Tour de France winner told the Nine Network:

At this point, looking at the course I’d say Michael Matthews in the men’s, Grace Brown for the women’s in the road race would be the first picks we’d be looking to.

But of course, them staying healthy, being in form, avoiding injuries and so on – there’s still a long way to go in that regard.

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Updated at 19.54 EDT

‘We’re sceptical’ on supermarket break-up push: Labor

Labor is “sceptical” about breaking up supermarket giants amid warnings proposed powers could push up food prices and harm job security for workers.

As households struggle to pay for groceries, Woolworths and Coles have been accused of price-gouging customers and stifling competitors while undermining suppliers.

The Albanese government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to review prices and competition in the sector.

Woolworths and Coles have been accused of price-gouging customers and stifling competitors while undermining suppliers. Photograph: Luis Ascui, Joel Carrett/AAP

It also appointed former Labor minister Craig Emerson to review the effectiveness of the grocery code of conduct, which governs how the supermarkets treat their suppliers.

The assistant competition minister, Andrew Leigh, said the government would wait for the ACCC to hand down its report but previous competition inquiries failed to recommend divestiture. He told ABC RN this morning:

The National Farmers’ Federation have argued against divestiture and the ACTU have made the point that it could potentially hurt workers, so we’re sceptical.

Leigh said the government would not make a decision until it had the ACCC’s report.

Australian Associated Press

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Updated at 20.30 EDT

Queensland’s Ergon Energy Retail has become the second Australian energy company to wrongly receive money from the welfare payments of former customers, prompting fears the issue could be widespread.

(Last week, Guardian Australia revealed that $700,000 had been diverted via the government-run Centrepay debit system from the pockets of more than 500 welfare recipients to the energy giant AGL.)

Read the full story from Christopher Knaus and Lorena Allam here:

Hunt for alleged arsonists who targeted play centre three times

The hunt is on for a gang of alleged arsonists who repeatedly targeted a play centre in Melbourne’s west over the Easter break.

The first attempt happened at about 10pm on Good Friday when a man smashed a window at the Braybrook business, Victoria police said.

Four offenders then allegedly forced their way into the Ashley Street centre and lit a fire at about 2.30am on Saturday.

They took off in a car and were seen driving along on Ballarat Road.

The third alleged attack happened at 3am on Monday, when a group smashed a window and caused significant damage by setting fire to the kitchen.

Australian Associated Press

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Updated at 18.49 EDT

Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial

Network Ten will ask the federal court to reopen its defence on Tuesday at an emergency hearing scheduled less than two days before the judgment in the Bruce Lehrmann defamation case is due to be handed down.

Justice Michael Lee was scheduled to deliver his judgment in the federal court in Sydney on Thursday 4 April in the defamation case Lehrmann brought against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson.

Now Lee will hear Ten’s argument for reopening its case in light of “fresh evidence”, according to the interlocutory application filed on Sunday afternoon.

Bruce Lehrmann at the federal court of in Sydney in February. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Read Amanda Meade’s full story here:

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Updated at 18.36 EDT

More on the Australian UN observer hurt in blast on Israel and Lebanon border

A Defence spokesperson confirmed an Australian Defence Force member was wounded while deployed on Operation Paladin in Lebanon – “part of Australia’s contribution to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation”.

The member was undertaking a routine United Nations patrol to monitor activity near the Israeli-Lebanon border, accompanied by three United Nations military observers and an interpreter, the spokesperson said.

The blast injuries sustained were non-life threatening. They were transported to a health centre at a nearby military base for treatment and have now been released to recover.

Defence is taking the appropriate steps to ensure the safety and welfare of the member.

Labor touts EVs to households as charging sites rise

Fast-charging sites for electric vehicles have risen by about 100 this year, leading to a near doubling of the Australia-wide network since 2022.

According to Electric Vehicle Council data, some 900 fast-charging sites support about 2,100 fast and ultra-fast charging plugs.

Australia also has about 3,000 regular charging stations with 7,000 plugs and sockets.

Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock

Outer capital city suburbs are leading the charge on EV purchases, with Rouse Hill and Kellyville topping Sydney sales in 2023. The energy minister, Chris Bowen, said:

More and more families in the outer suburbs are now reaping the benefits of cheaper-to-run cars, taking pressure off the family budget by avoiding thousands of dollars in fuel bills.

The average family spends $5,000 a year on petrol and could save thousands of dollars because EVs are typically $2,000 a year cheaper to run, he added.

As well, EV tax discounts could save buyers up to $11,000 a year on a $50,000 purchase. When eligible, the discount can make base EV models such as the Tesla 3 cheaper to lease per month than petrol-run cars like the Mazda 3 Astina.

– Australian Associated Press

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Updated at 18.07 EDT

Good morning

And welcome to a new week on the blog.

An Australian was among three UN observers and one translator injured in an explosion near Lebanon’s border with Israel. UN interim force in Lebanon spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told AFP that two observers were from Australia and Chile, adding that all four wounded were in stable condition. Australia’s defence department said the Australian’s injuries were not life-threatening.

Queensland police are preparing a report for the coroner after two men died in Surfers Paradise last night. The men, aged in their 60s and 30s, drowned after jumping into a hotel pool to save a child, who was successfully pulled from the water, according to an ABC report. Emergency services were called to Orchid Avenue about 7pm. The men were declared dead at the scene. Both deaths are being treated as non-suspicious.

And in positive news, a pilot scheme to replace cardboard produce boxes with reusable plastic crates has been launched in Victoria, with the aim to cut “invisible” cardboard waste. The Victoria Unboxed project, led by food charity Sustain with Sustainable Victoria, has supplied 1,000 reusable plastic crates to transport produce from farms to venues, wholesalers and homes across Melbourne.

If you see anything you don’t want us to miss, shoot it my way on X @At_Raf_

Let’s get this blog rolling.

Share

Updated at 19.45 EDT

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Guardian

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